Tales of Mystery
6. The Jew's Breastplate (continued)
Captain Wilson, a man with a dark, hard, incisive face, was
standing beside his fiancee at the other side of the case.
"Yes," said he, curtly, "I have never seen finer stones."
"And the gold-work is also worthy of attention. The ancients
excelled in----"--he was apparently about to indicate the setting
of the stones, when Captain Wilson interrupted him.
"You will see a finer example of their gold-work in this
candlestick," said he, turning to another table, and we all joined
him in his admiration of its embossed stem and delicately
ornamented branches. Altogether it was an interesting and a novel
experience to have objects of such rarity explained by so great an
expert; and when, finally, Professor Andreas finished our
inspection by formally handing over the precious collection to the
care of my friend, I could not help pitying him and envying his
successor whose life was to pass in so pleasant a duty. Within a
week, Ward Mortimer was duly installed in his new set of rooms, and
had become the autocrat of the Belmore Street Museum.
About a fortnight afterwards my friend gave a small dinner to
half a dozen bachelor friends to celebrate his promotion. When his
guests were departing he pulled my sleeve and signalled to me that
he wished me to remain.
"You have only a few hundred yards to go," said he--I was
living in chambers in the Albany. "You may as well stay and have
a quiet cigar with me. I very much want your advice."
I relapsed into an arm-chair and lit one of his excellent
Matronas. When he had returned from seeing the last of his
guests out, he drew a letter from his dress-jacket and sat down
opposite to me.
"This is an anonymous letter which I received this morning,"
said he. "I want to read it to you and to have your advice."
"You are very welcome to it for what it is worth."